LIEUTENANT GENERAL LARRY R. ELLIS
DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF FOR OPERATIONS AND PLANS
Mr. Chairman and distinguished Members of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Procurement--thank you for the opportunity and the privilege to appear before you today to testify on behalf of the Army. I am honored to represent Americas sons and daughters who volunteer to serve in the United States Army; whether they are active duty soldiers, National Guard or Reserve soldiers -- we are the ARMY.
Since August, I have been privileged to serve as the Armys Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans. For the two years prior to this, I served as the Division Commander for the 1st Armored Division (Forward) stationed in Germany. While in this position, I also served for one year as the Commander, Task Force Eagle and Multi-national Division (North), in Bosnia and Herzegovina, from October 1997 to October 1998. My operational background also includes having served as the Assistant Division Commander for Operations for the 2d Infantry Division (Forward) stationed in Korea and then as the Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations for the United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command and United States Forces Korea. In my over 30 years service and experience in peace and war, I can state that this is the best Army I have seen. It is truly one Army -- comprised of Active, National Guard, and Reserve soldiers -- seamlessly integrated and dedicated to mission accomplishment. These soldiers stand ready to do what the Nation requires -- ready to support the National Security Strategy whether the requirement is to shape the international environment, respond across the full spectrum of crises, or prepare for an uncertain future.
Trained and Ready.
The Army is trained and ready. Readiness -- measured by our ability to accomplish assigned operational missions -- is our first priority. Among the factors we consider part of our readiness are: (1) quality people -- manning our forces with soldiers and civilians that are competent, confident, and committed to excellence; (2) acquiring the right mix of equipment and weapons and ensuring each is sustained in a high state of maintenance; and (3) effective infrastructure and power projection platforms to support our forces. The resourcing of these components is critical to maintaining our trained and ready posture and to ensure our Army is prepared for any conflict.
Many ask the question of the Army -- ready for what? The answer lies in the geo-strategic trends. While we cannot foresee the future, we can postulate what it might look like given what we see and experience daily. Less than two years ago, we did not predict that we would be conducting a campaign in Kosovo nor anticipate the problems that have captured our attention in East Timor, Indonesia. Therefore, the diverse and unpredictable demands of todays national security environment dictates that the United States continues to require the best trained, best equipped, and best prepared Army, capable of performing a wide range of missions effectively. Our greatest challenge is to maintain the appropriate balance between the competing priorities of ongoing mission responsibilities, current readiness, and modernization. Make no mistake, while we expect that small-scale contingency operations (CONOPS) will dominate the types of operations we will be asked to execute in the 21st century, we have not lost sight of the fact that we must be capable of executing the two major theaters of war strategy. Today, we are able to execute that strategy as an Army -- the land power force of the joint team. However, as has been already testified to by our Chief of Staff, there is risk in the second major theater of war.
Since 1989, the Army participated in no less than 35 major deployments, many of which are small-scale contingencies in support of our national security interests. In nearly all these deployments, the Army provided the bulk of the forces and in many cases, Army soldiers still remain on the ground shaping the operational environment. Additionally, during the same timeframe, we reduced the size of our Army, Active, National Guard and Reserves, by over 32 percent. As part of the "peace-dividend" garnered from the end of the Cold War, there are no questions that major reductions were appropriate. But the effects of these reductions and the pace of the deployments have stretched the Army. On any given day, the Army maintains over 122,500 soldiers forward stationed in Europe, the Pacific, Korea, and other critical areas. Additionally, the Army averages over 28,000 soldiers deployed daily in shaping operations around the world. These missions not only include the current peacekeeping operations in Bosnia and Kosovo, but also ongoing operational commitments, combatant commanders regional engagement programs, and military-to-military contact exercises. This number is somewhat deceiving when you consider, in many instance such as long-term peacekeeping operations, nearly twice that number are either preparing to deploy to replace the unit or individuals on the ground or recovering from the deployment and retraining on skills to prepare for high intensity conflict missions. Of course, many of the soldiers, in these shaping operations, are drawn from forward-stationed forces.
These small-scale contingency deployments have effects on our overall readiness as well -- some positive, some negative. For example, at the small unit level -- essentially, squad and platoon -- these deployments have not had too significant of an impact on individual soldier skills. In fact, deployments have improved unit cohesion, junior leader decision making skills and bolstered soldier self-confidence in increasingly complex situations and environments. However, where we notice the most significant negative impact is at the company level and above in the skills needed to coordinate and synchronize complex, fast paced, high intensity operations. These are precisely the skills needed to prosecute and decisively win the major theater of war scenarios. Therefore, being provided the (timely) resources to support the units deployed on contingency operations, permits the Army to focus its Operations and Maintenance funds towards: (1) training those units and soldiers who have just returned from deployment; (2) preparing those units and soldiers that are scheduled to deploy; and (3) continue sustainment training for units and soldiers not scheduled to deploy in their critical warfighting skills.
I would like to thank the members for their support of the FY99 Kosovo / Emergency Supplemental Funding and the expected early funding of the FY00 CONOPS for Bosnia and Kosovo. This timely CONOPS funding is greatly appreciated and ensures uninterrupted support for our deployed soldiers and those preparing to deploy.
Despite the success of a combined (air) operation and the withdrawal of the Serb Army from Kosovo -- it is important not to lose sight of the fact that we still have forces, predominately Army soldiers, on the ground working with our Allies to bring peace to a troubled region. These soldiers are likely to remain for a long period of time in support of our National Security Strategy. On a daily basis (at present), this equates to over 6,000 soldiers deployed in support of Task Force Falcon in Kosovo (Joint Guardian), as well as, 6,200 soldiers as part of Task Force Eagle, in Bosnia in support of Joint Forge. These soldiers represent Americas best -- Active, Guard, and Reserve -- working tirelessly as one Army to accomplish this mission and all others assigned by the National Command Authority.
Earlier this summer, Major General Richard Cody testified before the House Armed Services Readiness Sub-Committee on Task Force Hawk and his experiences in Albania. During the conduct of Operation Allied Force, I was the Commander of the 1st Armored Division, and was preparing soldiers to support any ground operations that may have been directed. Therefore, I would like to endorse his comments about Task Force Hawk. It is clear that the Task Force accomplished all of its assigned missions, the soldiers participating in this operation performed magnificently, and had the Task Force been given the go-ahead to conduct strikes against the Serb forces they would have been successful. The second point I'd like to endorse is that we, as an Army, are not broken. We have been criticized for being too slow to deploy Task Force Hawk -- however, given the operational and political circumstances as well as geographical constraints, all of which are matters of record, we consider the deployment a success. Task Force Hawk completed a very logistically challenging and operationally sensitive deployment into an extremely austere environment -- one that required exceptional skills and hard work to accomplish. It was an exceptional feat by all the soldiers and leaders involved and the United States Army is the only Army in the world that could have accomplished such a feat.
This is not to say that the operation was perfect or that we didnt learn anything from it -- very few operations are executed as planned. Therefore, as a Service, and within each organization, we conducted a thorough After Action Review to assess areas that worked well and those that need improvement. One of the qualities that we, as a values-based Army, cherish is the ability to engage in frank, candid, and professional assessments of our own abilities and levels of preparedness. With this quality comes the responsibility to provide not only an honest assessment of strengths and weaknesses, but also a recommendation for remedying those areas that we believe need improvements. This is how we improve! We constantly evaluate and assess ourselves to ensure that no American soldier ever goes into harms way not fully trained or under-resourced. As leaders, we must be critical of ourselves if we are to improve in an ever-changing and dangerous world.
This after action review continues to provide important insights for the Army. We are currently reviewing the comments and results to help refocus and improve our modernization and transformation efforts to meet the uncertain challenges of the 21st century.
Our modernization effort is linked to our National Security Strategy. This strategy defines requirements, which in turn determines our force structure and modernization needs in the context of the missions we are being required to perform in the post-Cold War world. We must accept that there are "no-time-outs" to conduct modernization. As such, effective modernization of the Army requires simultaneously supporting all elements of the strategy while maintaining current readiness.
The Armys Modernization Strategy recognizes this requirement. With constrained resources we must modernize with discipline and precision -- there can be no wasted effort. As we refocus our modernization efforts, we are committed to ensuring that we modernize our Army with the best equipment available, to include use of "off-the-shelf" technologies and systems. As a means of maintaining our combat overmatch capabilities, we plan to field new equipment in "Brigade set" configurations. Essentially, this is focused modernization of a brigade sized unit, rather than incremental modernization by individual system. The benefits of the brigade set fielding include the maximization of efficiencies and improving readiness and responsiveness to support the national strategy. Additionally, we must recapitalize some of our legacy systems to support the transformation process. By selectively replacing or refitting aging systems, we ensure continued operational effectiveness and minimize excessive maintenance and support costs.
However, today across the Army, we are seeing the results of many years of declining resources and resource constraints, in terms of funding for training and equipment. The Army took risk in its modernization program to maintain current readiness (our OPTEMPO and Base Support accounts) -- as such, we were unable to fully fund the full spectrum of our modernization plan. This required the Army to make tough decisions on how to balance requirements and resources. In fact, the Armys Research, Development and Acquisition (RD&A) accounts decreased by 47 percent between FY89 and FY00 (measured in constant dollars). In FY00, we requested $14 billion (including chemical demilitarization funds); this represents only 16 percent of total Department of Defense RD&A dollars -- the lowest percentage of DoD budget for research, development and acquisition among the Services.
Therefore, "getting-it-right" in our Army modernization program and procurement process is critical in meeting todays readiness and the challenges of an uncertain future. The Armys unique contribution to joint operations is land forces to conduct prompt, sustained, and decisive operations across the full operational spectrum. To remain the decisive land power for the nation in the 21st century, we need to develop and maintain a full spectrum, capabilities-based-force that provides our national leadership a full range of options for protecting U.S. interests in peace, crisis and war. Having stated this, General Shinseki, our Chief of Staff, recently released a Vision Statement takes some bold steps to continuing the modernization process while simultaneously transforming the structure of the Army to meet his objective of Full Spectrum Responsiveness. With the right technological solutions, we intend to transform the Army, all components, into a standard organizational design that allows us to put a combat capable brigade anywhere in the world in 96 hours once we have received the deployment order, followed by a division on the ground in 120 hours, and five divisions in 30 days. This requires new, adaptive, and decisive Army concepts and capabilities. Essentially, our modernization and transformation process will focus on lightening up our armored forces to make them more strategically deployable while ensuring they have the firepower to fight and win decisively. For our light forces, we will improve the lethality, tactical mobility and survivability and reduce the logistical footprint of our forces. Sufficient fiscal resources must be committed in order to realize this objective.
In the near term, to realize the vision and set the Army on the path to unprecedented modernization and transformation, the Army will have to make difficult choices that will have significant operational and resource implications. We are not sure what the cost of this transformation will be, but we expect that it will require a refocusing of our modernization effort. However, we must not jeopardize our ability to wage high intensity war -- we have a sacred obligation to the American people to fight and win the Nations wars and we will not be found wanting when called upon.
The Army continues to make tough decisions in balancing constrained resources against the requirements placed on us by the National Security Strategy. The best balance is one that maximizes our ability to provide our soldiers the skills and materiel they need to accomplish their assigned missions and return home safely to the Nation they so selflessly serve.
Army soldiers on the ground are Americas most visible and resolute sign of deterrence and reassurance. Maintaining the readiness of the force today and tomorrow, while transforming to a 21st Century Army requires a long-term, cumulative effort. My appearance before this committee is encouraging to me and to all Army soldiers and leaders -- the Army faces many challenges while continuing to be strategically responsive to the needs of our nation -- your help is critical to the Armys preparedness.
In closing, I would like to thank each of you again for the opportunity to speak before you today. We, as a country, have much to be proud of in our Army. As stated by the Chief of Staff, our soldiers are on point for the Nation, transforming the most respected Army in the world, into a strategically responsive force that is dominant across the full spectrum of operations. With your continued support and interest in our overall readiness -- today and tomorrow -- we can only get better and maintain the qualitative, overmatch capability that is both respected and feared by potential adversaries.